Your challenging commute: Use these tips to stay safe
If you have not done it—go ahead, you can confess—well then you have likely seen others doing silly stuff on the way to or way home from work. Here is a brief list of actual activities witnessed over the years while commuting, followed by some words of wisdom on distracted driving from the American Automobile Association.
Besides the fact that this is against the law in most states, texting and driving is tempting, yes, and brazenly reckless. As Odometer.com says in an article on this topic, “Keeping your eyes on the road will always be more important than looking at your phone. Would you want your doctor to constantly text someone else during your surgery?”
Talking on the Phone
This is probably not as reckless as texting, but some studies show that talking on the phone—even hands-free—can still be risky. As those surly, tough-love billboards proclaim, just “hang up and drive.”
This is a popular one. We’ve all seen a variety of people in an array of vehicles—from pricey BMWs to low-end Hyundais—wolfing down a scary variety of food items: burgers, pizza, yogurt, ice cream, soda, coffee…well, you get the idea.
Working on a laptop
As the Odometer.com article states, “This is pretty much as bad as texting, if not worse.”
You may have seen this more during non-commute times, such as on long road trips along miles of empty freeways. But, still, reading while driving? Not a good idea.
You’ve probably seen these, too—several examples of grooming while driving:
• Doing makeup
• Brushing teeth
• Putting on contacts
• Combing or brushing hair in rearview mirror
• Painting fingernails
AAA has the best, simplest advice on this: “Finish dressing and personal grooming at home—before you get on the road.”
Speaking of AAA, as promised, here are the auto club’s best tips to prevent distracted driving.
Fully focus on driving. Don’t let anything divert your attention, actively scan the road, use your mirrors and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.
Make adjustments before you get underway. This includes adjusting items such as your GPS, seats, climate controls and sound systems before hitting the road.
Dress and groom at home. As already mentioned, finish dressing and personal grooming at home before getting behind the wheel.
Snack smart. If possible, eat meals or snacks before or after your trip, not while driving.
Put aside your electronic distractions. Don’t use cell phones while driving—handheld or hands-free—except in absolute emergencies.
Pull over if necessary. If another activity demands your attention, instead of trying to attempt it while driving, pull off the road and stop your vehicle in a safe place. To avoid temptation, power down or stow devices before heading out.
Finally, AAA says, as a general rule, if you cannot devote your full attention to driving because of some other activity, it’s a distraction. Take care of it before or after your trip, not while behind the wheel.
Compiled by CarSoup.com Editors